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August 10, 2020

How to write a copywriting brief. (According to an actual copywriter)

Bob Knight didn’t believe in luck. He believed in preparation.

Working with a freelance copywriter is the same.

Being a copywriter and marketer by day (and night) thought me that a great copywriting brief is what sets apart stellar copy from low-quality writing.

But with all the time you have to spend preparing a copywriting brief, or any content brief to speak of, is it worth it?

Believing that a copywriter will swoop in and understand your business after one meeting is naive. Most of the businesses I work with, I don’t stick around for long enough to live and breathe their business and mission. So a question comes to mind.

Should the company or the copywriter create the content brief?

This truly depends.

Some copywriters have their own content brief or at the very least a copywriting template, on their website where their clients can work off of it.

For me, as someone who’s running a one-man copywriting agency, I believe my process is what allows me to write copy that businesses (and their clients) love.

I can’t put each client under the same cap. They’re all just too different. Some of my clients are agencies that like to take their time to craft the perfect landing page, others need articles fired off like a machine gun fires bullets.

To answer the question, I believe a content brief should go two ways — the business should provide brand guidelines and information about themselves, and a copywriter should guide them through a process where both parties should understand what content is needed, how it should be structured and how it should sound.

So, what makes a good copywriting brief?

Crafting a document that describes your business needs, and purpose, is a laborious process. You have to give the most amount of information in a concise, straight-to-the-point format. And that’s hard.

For me, a helpful copywriting brief should include the following information:

Information about your business?
A brief description of what your business does. As someone who’s highly likely to have never interacted with your company before, this will allow me to better understand you as a client.

Who is your customer?
Or whoever the target audience is. At the time of writing this article, my homepage boldly says that I’m writing copy based on your data, to capture the hearts of your customers. I won’t be able to do that if I don’t know who I’m writing for.

What makes your business special?
What’s your special sauce? Do you have a mighty purpose as a business? What is it? I need to understand what sets you apart from all your competitors.

Any other project-specific information.
Like deadlines, word count, keywords, and any other technicalities. Those are the final touches that will define the direction of the project.

But that’s only a part of the brief.

As someone who’s running a copywriting agency, I believe that a one-on-one meeting is the best way to convey what you’re going for.

We’ll build your business as a person. Someone who’s sitting in front of you in a coffee shop. Someone you want to read because they’re interesting.

It’s important to remember that…

When working with a freelancer for the first time, it’s important to remember that this is the round that will take the most amount of edits. That’s why it always pays out to have a thriving relationship with a freelance copywriter.

But that’s another story for another time.

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Posted in Copywriting